Helping churches, individuals make disciples is goal of 2013 Disciple Covenant Conference

published 1/3/2013
The third annual Disciple Covenant Conference is set for Friday, Feb. 8 and Saturday, Feb. 9.   Helping people, individually or in teams, develop disciple plans based on the 10 timeless values of the faith is the focus of the conference, which will convene in Macon at the Macon Centreplex (Macon Coliseum). The purpose of the Disciple Covenant Conference is to provide a spiritual and learning environment for people to develop their disciple-making plans. The two primary goals of the event are to ...

I Believe

published 1/3/2013
FROM THE BISHOP JAMES R. KING, JR.  Hello, beautiful people of South Georgia! The hope of every Christian should be growing a Christlike world. There is an obvious contrast between a Christlike world and a world filled with layers of hurt and disconnects of all sorts. “Growing a Christlike World” is not just a vision slogan pulled out the sky. Rather, it is the promise land of every believer revealed in the disciple’s prayer for the kingdom of God to come on earth as it is in heaven. The values...

Rev. Gene Cochran to retire, new Director of Ministerial Services sought

published 1/3/2013
By Kara Witherow, Editor The process of becoming a United Methodist minister is a long and somewhat complicated one. The Director of Ministerial Services oversees that process, shepherding candidates through their journey to become ordained elders. In June, the South Georgia Conference will appoint or hire a new Director of Ministerial Services. Rev. Gene Cochran, who has served in this role the past four years, will be retiring following the 2013 Annual Conference session. The Conference’s ...

Epworth By The Sea to host 2013 Winter Camp Meeting

published 1/2/2013
One of South Georgia’s oldest and most popular United Methodist gatherings will be held Sunday, Jan. 27 through Wednesday, Jan. 30 at Epworth By The Sea on St. Simons Island.    “For more than 60 years, the world’s most outstanding preachers, teachers and musicians have come together in “God’s Place” to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ and help us all face the morning with the assurance that God is with us,” said Epworth’s Superintendent, Dr. Charles Adams. “This year we are honored to have ...

Nehemiah: Leaders mobilize people

published 12/29/2012
LIVING THE VISION BRAD BRADY This is the third in a series of articles about the book of Nehemiah. Bishop King is inviting all South Georgia United Methodists to join him in studying this book. Reading Nehemiah 3 feels as though we have entered the footnote zone. Footnotes are something important the writer wants you to know, but footnotes are not known as the most invigorating reading. Reading this chapter calls forth the same low level of warm-fuzzy feelings you experience when reading the ...

North Georgia and South Georgia churches work together

published 12/29/2012
Submitted by Debby Stikes In a time when mission statements are encouraged, written, and often put in a drawer and ideas of building bridges and cooperative ministry are talked about but never put into action, Riverside United Methodist Church in Macon and Griffin First United Methodist Church in the North Georgia Conference are proving you can build a bridge to another conference and to the world. Beginning in early 2012, a group of women from both churches began a quest to travel to Baldwin, ...

United Methodist churches and agencies eligible for Staples discounts

published 12/29/2012
The General Council on Finance and Administration of The United Methodist Church has recently arranged with office supply retailer Staples to provide United Methodist churches and organizations with preferred pricing and discounts on purchases.  In addition, one percent of all purchases will go to UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief). To sign up, visit 

Springfield/Isle of Hope members collaborate on cookbook to help children

published 12/19/2012
By Kara Witherow, Editor Six-year-old Danny was in prison. So was his 3-year-old half-brother Moises. The two hadn’t committed any crimes, but were living with their parents in a cramped, overcrowded room in the Tapachula, Mexico men’s prison where their father was incarcerated. After he was released, the boys continued to live in the prison with their mother, who was in jail for running drugs. Today, Danny, 21 and in his third year of dental school, is a shining example of God’s redemptive and ...

Members hold on to faith after fire damages South Columbus UMC

published 12/18/2012
By Kara Witherow, Editor Rev. Reggie Williams and the South Columbus United Methodist Church congregation are holding on to hope, scripture and each other after a fire damaged the church’s sanctuary in the early morning hours of Friday, Nov. 23. Romans 8:28, which says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” is a life verse for Rev. Williams, and the entire South Columbus congregation is holding on to that ...

Thomasville First UMC is transforming lives through Advent Revolution

published 12/18/2012
By Kara Witherow, Editor  Justin was 3 years old when his parents were killed in the Rwandan genocide. Homeless and hopeless, he didn’t have anyone to take care of him or anywhere to go. That is, until someone told him about Village of Hope, a group of homes built because of Thomasville First United Methodist Church’s Advent Revolution and members who decided that Christmas should be about compassion, not consumption. Now in its sixth year, Advent Revolution focuses on remembering why ...

Bishop King announces plan for 900 CLUs by 2013

published 12/11/2012
By Kara Witherow, Editor We all need love. That was Bishop James King’s message to each United Methodist who attended one of nine Bishop’s Hours held this fall throughout the South Georgia Conference. “We all need love,” he said. “We not only need love as a one-time experience, we need Christlike love as an ongoing experience.” To help foster and spread this love, Bishop King has set a goal of having 900 Christlike Love Units (CLUs) in the Conference by Dec. 1, 2013.  That’s a minimum of 100 ...

Defining Advocacy

published 12/11/2012
Written by the Advocacy Team (Rev. Jeff Cook, Rev. Stacey Harwell, Rev. Abra Lattany-Reed, and Richard Shinhoster) When Jesus sat down with the disciples and talked about the kingdom of God, he had the weight of the prophets behind him. For hundreds, even thousands of years, prophets spoke of a coming one and a coming kingdom. The coming one would bring the longed-for peace – a time when the child would play at the snake’s den and not be harmed, where natural enemies – the lion and the wolf – ...

Moore Methodist Museum welcomes new assistant director

published 12/11/2012
By Kara Witherow, Editor Elizabeth Rhye is enthusiastic about history and teaching others about United Methodism.  The recent Elon University graduate has combined her passion for history, her United Methodist heritage, and her degree and training into the perfect job as the new assistant director of the Arthur J. Moore Methodist Museum, Library and Archives. Born and raised a United Methodist in Charlotte, N.C., Rhye came to St. Simons Island after graduating with a history degree. She put ...

Mulberry Street UMC holds post-election Day of Prayer and Unity

published 12/11/2012
By Kara Witherow, Editor In a years-long election cycle filled with vitriol, rancor, discord and divisiveness, voters quickly grew weary of the partisan politics that dominated airwaves, conversations, Facebook feeds and daily discussions. But with its Day of Prayer and Unity, Mulberry Street United Methodist Church in Macon sought to bridge the divide and come together as a church and a community one day after the election, on Wednesday, Nov. 7. With its sanctuary open for prayer at 8 a.m., ...

Rediscovering the awe of Advent

published 12/11/2012
BEYOND THE NEWS CREEDE HINSHAW Merchants have always touted shopping.  It’s de rigueur to complain about greedy moneymakers and aggressive, insane shoppers on the recently dubbed Black Friday.  Decry the madness if you must but remember that it’s not a recent phenomenon; shopping on the day after Thanksgiving has simply grown in a logical, efficient progression over the decades.  Internet shopping and increasingly earlier store openings were anticipated in a quainter way some 40 years ago by ...

White Bluff UMC's needlecraft ministry members create gifts of love

published 12/11/2012
By Kara Witherow, Editor When Helen Norman’s husband Dale was diagnosed with cancer nearly eight years ago, he was given a prayer quilt by the women of White Bluff United Methodist Church’s Pins and Needles sewing and quilting group. He was so impressed by and appreciative of the quilt that he took it everywhere and even had it signed by his doctors, nurses and everyone who visited him at home and in the hospital. That quilt made such an impression on both Helen and Dale that after Dale’s death...

St. Marys Foundation announces grant recipients

published 12/3/2012
The Board of Directors of the St. Marys United Methodist Church Foundation, Inc. has approved grants for the Fall 2012 Grant Cycle. Grants totaling $850,408 were made available to 18 charitable organizations the week of December 3, 2012. The following is a brief description of each recipient and the purpose of the grant. You can also view a video presentation of grants awarded by visiting their website at  Boys and Girls Club of Southeast Georgia (

2013 Convocation for Pastors of Black Churches set for January 9-11

published 12/1/2012
United Methodist Church announces the 2013 Convocation for Pastors of Black Churches to be held January 9-11, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. This year’s theme is “Shifting Wineskins”: Education, Adaptation and Transformation.  The Convocation for Pastors of Black Churches exists for the information, inspiration and encouragement of Pastors of Black Churches and those who support them. For over 10 years the Convocation has helped pastors: Learn from renowned pastors who are recognized for their ...

GA Give Day is Dec. 6; support a participating UM ministry

published 11/26/2012
Several ministries in the South Georgia Conference are participating in the inaugural Georgia Gives Day on Dec. 6, 2012.  Ministries include The Methodist Home for Children and Youth, Magnolia Manor, Wesley Glen, Open Door, Epworth By The Sea, Wesleyan College and Andrew College. This is a new thing for Georgia – trying to raise awareness and charitable giving.   How you can help:  Let folks in your church know about Georgia Gives Day via email, newsletter, and bulletin.  Many of your ...

Final Cokesbury Christmas for stores

published 11/25/2012
A UMNS Feature By Barbara Dunlap-Berg* a href="" title=" The Cokesbury Bookstore in Nashville, Tenn., hosts an open house with special savings on Christmas items. Nancy Sawyer from Pennington United Methodist Church, Nashville, shops for holiday gifts. UMNS photos by Kathleen Barry. " class="lightbox" style="text-decoration: none; color: rgb(85, 117, 161); ">img border="0" src="

Cordele First UMC puts faith into action

published 11/15/2012
Submitted by Rev. David Thompson, Cordele First UMC  The Church has left the building. And on Sunday, Oct. 14, their community was glad they did.  Cordele First United Methodist Church put their faith into action by canceling their three English and Spanish Sunday morning services to practice very purposeful acts of kindness throughout their community. More than 500 volunteers from Cordele First UMC, Cordele First Baptist Church, Pinecrest Baptist Church, St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, New ...

Nehemiah: God works in the delay

published 11/15/2012
LIVING THE VISION BRAD BRADY This is the second in a series of articles about the book of Nehemiah.  Bishop King is inviting all South Georgia United Methodists to join him in studying this book. Sometimes we read the Bible without full appreciation of the timeline of events because we are unfamiliar with the calendar of the day.  The transition to Nehemiah 2 is a perfect example.  The first words give us a time stamp that is important to the story for several reasons. What catches my eye is ...

Statesboro First UMC's Project Deer Share helps fight hunger with hunting

published 11/15/2012
By Kara Witherow, Editor Venison. It’s the other red meat. With Georgia’s deer season in full swing, many South Georgia hunters are starting to harvest some of the state’s abundant supply of whitetail deer. And with the liberal limit of 12 deer per season, many hunters are finding – or soon will find – themselves with an excess supply of venison that they and their families can’t consume. That was the case with Statesboro First United Methodist Church member Warren Ball, an avid hunter. A few ...

UMC high court upholds guaranteed appointment

published 11/15/2012
By Sam Hodges, Managing Editor, United Methodist Reporter The frustration level for reformers of the struggling United Methodist Church appeared to reach a new high as the denomination’s Judicial Council struck down the last major reform standing after General Conference 2012. The council, after an Oct. 24-27 meeting outside Chicago that considered 18 cases, ruled that legislation to end guaranteed appointment for ordained elders violates the church’s constitution. Retired Bishop Al Gwinn ...

Finance agency asks for East Africa funds cutoff

published 11/14/2012
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How South Georgia is supporting East Africa missions and ministries

published 11/14/2012
I am honored to represent South Georgia serving as a director for the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM). During our organizational meeting in October, the suspension of funds to East Africa was discussed and it was again reported that all donations for projects in East Africa continue to be held until such time as sound practices are put into place for the accounting of funds given that would result in the suspension being lifted. Our Conference established a special partnership years ...

South Georgia Drop-off Locations for Cleaning Buckets

published 11/14/2012
There continues to be a great need for Cleaning Buckets. Instructions on assembling UMCOR kits can be found at  We have six locations within our conference where you can take your completed cleaning buckets. The buckets will then be taken to a designated location where UMCOR can disperse the buckets. Brunswick First UMC - 912-265-4313 (1400 Norwich Street, Brunswick, GA 31520) Valdosta First UMC - 229-242-4050 (220 N. Patterson Street, Valdosta, GA 31601) Cordele First UMC - ...

Connectional Table Names the Rev. Amy Valdez Barker as Executive Secretary

published 11/7/2012
The Connectional Table (CT) is pleased to announce the hiring of the Rev. Amy Valdez Barker as executive secretary, effective January 1, 2013. She will provide administrative leadership for the CT as it coordinates the mission, ministries, and resources of The United Methodist Church.  “Amy’s experience as a leader in The United Methodist Church, along with her vision and passion for Christ expressed through our Wesleyan tradition and her administrative skills are just what the Connectional ...

UMPH Board Approves CokesburyNext Plan

published 11/7/2012
The Board of Directors of the UM Publishing House (UMPH) met in Nashville Oct. 29–31. The Board reviewed UMPH’s FY12 results and learned that sales of $86.1M were up 2.2% over the previous year and that the House achieved its budgeted net operating revenue. But the Board also discussed future economic challenges related in part to decreased church worship and Sunday school attendance, steadily increasing costs for local store operations, changes in publishing technologies and the use of digital ...

20 ways to reach out on Veterans Day

published 11/5/2012
A UMNS report by Barbara Dunlap-Berg and Kathy L. Gilbert*  Veterans Day – Nov. 11 — is just a week away. The observance began almost a century ago. In the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the Allied nations and Germany declared an armistice — a temporary cessation of hostilities — in World War I. Commemorated as Armistice Day the next year, Nov. 11 became a legal federal holiday in the United States in 1938. After World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became ...

Inaugural Dublin District Small Church Leadership Academy helps train and empower laity

published 11/5/2012
The inaugural Dublin District Small Church Leadership Academy, held Saturday, Sept. 22 at Twin City United Methodist Church, was designed to bring together leaders of small congregations (less than 60 in average worship attendance) for leadership training, sharing of ministry ideas, and spiritual development. While clergy were invited and welcome to attend, the training focused more on laity leadership. “While the districts are designed to focus on clergy leadership development, the design team...

Morgan's Chapel UMC's silent witness

published 11/5/2012
By Kara Witherow, Editor  Morgan’s Chapel United Methodist Church’s fellowship hall proclaims a loud but silent witness to everyone who walks through its doors. That wasn’t the case a few weeks ago, though. Just a few weeks ago it was a typical fellowship hall, with empty walls, nondescript décor and trim in need of repainting. But church leaders and members realized that they had a huge opportunity to tell their story – and the wonderful news of God’s love – to their daily and weekly guests ...

Some dos and don'ts for young adult ministry

published 11/5/2012
GROWING IN GRACE BEN GOSDEN I currently serve as an associate pastor at Mulberry Street United Methodist Church in Macon. One of my primary responsibilities is young adult ministry. During the past two years I’ve learned a good deal about what ministry with young adults is like and I’d like to take a moment to share a few ideas with you. Take them, leave them, question them, it’s up to you. Do NOT over-generalize the demographic. Statements like “all young people want…” are simply not ...

United Methodist Women gather for their 40th annual meeting

published 11/5/2012
By Kara Witherow, Editor More than 260 women from across the South Georgia Annual Conference gathered together for the 40th annual meeting of the South Georgia United Methodist Women. Meeting under the theme “That All May Have Life,” on Saturday, October 20, UMW from across the conference celebrated 143 years of mission and ministry at Savannah’s White Bluff United Methodist Church. “You are a mighty force for God,” said keynote speaker Bishop James R. King, Jr., episcopal leader of the South ...

United Methodist Committee on Relief Responds to Hurricane Sandy

published 10/30/2012
As Hurricane Sandy bared down on millions of people, The United Methodist Church is helping respond and cope with the storm's effects. Through local United Methodist churches and trained disaster response workers, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) provides immediate relief, assistance with cleanup and rebuilding, pastoral counseling and support for children and youth who have been through trauma. "As large as the monster Sandy is, the church is larger and more powerful in its ...

Andrew College's AndrewServes program impacts students, community

published 10/18/2012
By Kara Witherow, Editor A special program at Andrew College is helping develop young men and women into servant leaders who are ready to make a difference in the lives of others. The AndrewServes program’s mission is to develop a spirit of servant leadership that nurtures the college’s academic mission through community involvement. Each semester, the program’s participants – called Servant Leader Scholars – are required to complete 60 hours of community service work. This is in addition to ...

Campus Ministry helps students tell the story of God's love in their lives

published 10/18/2012
Let the Redeemed Say So - Psalm 107:2 A Note from Rev. Cindy Autry Executive Director of the Georgia United Methodist Commission on Higher Education and Campus Ministry  ( or 770-854-7283) Do your high school students a favor! Take them to visit a UM college campus or get them in touch with a Wesley Foundation director. Be sure they have the information they need to choose a college where they can learn, find encouragement, and grow in faith. Be sure they will have a supportive ...

Wesleyan College prepares students for seminary, ministry

published 10/18/2012
By Kara Witherow, Editor Wesleyan College and its Wesleyan Disciples ministry are helping shape the Church’s next generation of young leaders. In the past five years, eight Wesleyan Disciples graduates have gone on to seminary at such prestigious schools as the Methodist Theological School of Ohio, Illiff School of Theology in Denver, Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology, Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, and Divinity School at Duke University. Formed in 2005 with six ...

Georgia Florida United Methodist Federal Credit Union Changes Name

published 10/10/2012
Members of the Georgia Florida United Methodist Federal Credit Union might notice something different in the coming days and months. As a result of unparalleled growth and new service to the Alabama-West Florida Conference, the credit union is changing its name to the United Methodist Connectional Federal Credit Union, which better represents how it is connected to the United Methodist community and how its members are connected to one another.  "Members won't have to do anything, and it doesn't...

Bishop King to deliver keynote address at UMW annual meeting

published 10/4/2012
United Methodist Women in South Georgia will celebrate 40 years of mission work on October 20 in Savannah at White Bluff United Methodist Church. Bishop James R. King, Jr. will deliver the keynote address to women from across South Georgia with delegates from all nine districts attending. “White Bluff is working hard to get ready for this big event,” said Mary Exley, UMW Conference Vice President. “The program committee met in February to plan for this meeting, and the ladies and church ...


published 10/4/2012
FROM THE BISHOP JAMES R. KING, JR. Hello, beautiful people of South Georgia! Over the years I have spoken to thousands of young people and mature adults in conference settings. Sometimes I asked those gathered what one word they would use to describe the kingdom of God in heaven. I found it amazing that with few exceptions the same words appeared. What was not surprising is that when I asked for a show of hands the word love outnumbered all the other words every time. I believe that love is such...

Mizpah UMC is sharing Christ's love, one load at a time

published 10/4/2012
By Kara Witherow, Editor Washing loads of clothes takes lots of detergent, water and electricity, which, these days, tend to cost loads of money. One South Georgia church is helping ease that burden and share the love of Christ through their Loads of Love laundry ministry. Once a month, the Mizpah United Methodist Church’s youth group meets at a local Laundromat and offers to pay and do people’s laundry. They hand out quarters to everyone who walks in the door, regardless of need.  Sometimes ...

The enduring influence of Clarence Jordan

published 10/4/2012
By Sam Hodges, Managing Editor, United Methodist Reporter What were the odds that a white Southern Baptist preacher would start an interracial Christian community in the rural South in 1942, long before federal court decisions and legislation began to dismantle legal segregation? Throw in that this preacher would be openly pacifist, right in the middle of World War II, and the prospect seems even more far-fetched. But this happened. The Rev. Clarence Jordan and his wife, Florence, and a Baptist...

Volunteer Disaster Response Teams Needed in Louisiana

published 9/26/2012
By Betty Backstrom* The Rev. Dave Carlton, pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church in Buras, La., watched television news reports of Hurricane Isaac’s devastating impact on Plaquemines Parish from a hospital room in Natchez, Miss.  Carlton was on an overnight trip to Birmingham, Ala. and stopped to eat lunch in Mississippi. When he stood up from the meal, Carlton felt dizzy. “Although it turned out to be a minor health issue, I wound up in the hospital. I felt helpless as I watched reports ...

10-Fold. 1 Click. Be Counted!

published 9/21/2012
Mark your calendar and spread the word! What began as a 10-day event has grown into a month-long event throughout October. Beginning October 1, this online event will mobilize passionate people to stand up and be counted for causes they believe in, known as 10-Fold. Each week will feature a different United Methodist ministry supported by Global Ministries and UMCOR. Through live webcasts, streaming video, online chats, and other media, participants will learn about these ministries that are ...

Hugo Magallanes Named Director of Center for the Study of Latino/a Christianity and Religions

published 9/20/2012
Rev. Dr. Hugo Magallanes, associate professor of Christianity and Cultures, has been named director of the Center for the Study of Latino/a Christianity and Religions at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University. He succeeds Dr. David Maldonado, who retired as founding director of the Center in 2011. An ordained elder in the South Georgia Annual Conference UMC, Magallanes is a native of Cd. Juarez, Mexico. He earned Ph.D. and M.Phil. degrees from Drew University, an M.Div. from ...

South Georgia family is passionate about helping end childhood hunger

published 9/20/2012
By Kara Witherow, Editor One family’s passion for helping end childhood hunger is making a difference in children’s lives throughout South Georgia and in cities across the United States. Lindsey Buck, wife of Sandersville United Methodist Church pastor Rev. Joe Buck, helps run Operation Hungry Child, Inc., a non-profit organization she and her mother formed to promote awareness of childhood hunger and to provide assistance to child hunger relief organizations. Buck’s mother, Melanie Brooks, a ...

South Georgia UM churches take action against hunger

published 9/20/2012
By Kara Witherow, Editor Nearly 49 million people in America face hunger. That’s one in six of the United States population – including more than one in five children. And a record 46.7 million Americans—one in five– now collect food stamps, according to data recently released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And since September is National Hunger Action Month, as dubbed by Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief charity, we wanted to highlight what a few local South ...

Trinity UMC's 2012 Choir Tour and Mission Trip

published 9/20/2012
By Alyssa Lorenz, Trinity UMC The Trinity United Methodist Church’s New Horizons youth choir and hand bell choir tour kicked off at the crack of dawn on Thursday, June 7.  We got to see our choir director, Vicki Slavik’s, smiling face at 2:30 a.m. I don’t think many of us went to bed the night before.  We had to be there that early to load the bus and drive to our first concert in Memphis.  It is about an eight-hour drive from Warner Robins to Memphis, our concert was at 4 p.m., and Vickie likes...

"Happiness" is the theme for South Georgia Eagles' fall retreat

published 9/6/2012
The South Georgia Eagles, a group of retired South Georgia United Methodist pastors and spouses, will gather October 29-31, 2012, at Epworth By The Sea on St. Simons Island, for their annual fall retreat. Leading several sessions during the retreat on “John Wesley and Happiness” will be retired pastor Dr. Burrell Dinkins, who is also writing a book on the same topic.  A member of the North Georgia Conference, Dr. Dinkins is a former teacher at Asbury Seminary and Oral Roberts University.  Also ...

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